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3 ex-Manteca staffers have roles in birthing county’s 8th city
mountain house
Mt Diablo and North Peak are shown on the horizon to the northwest of Mountain House.

Mountain House — when it becomes California’s 483rd incorporated city on July 1 – didn’t exist 21 years ago.

It is a city planned and built from scratch on former farmland in the rolling terrain nudged against San Joaquin County’s border with Alameda County under the tutelage of Trimark Communities

The first home foundation was poured on Jan. 18, 2003.

That first home in what some at the time described “in the middle of a windy nowhere” has since morphed into a bustling community on target to surpass 30,000 residents by next year.

Currently a community services district under the umbrella of San Joaquin County, Mountain House is now giong through the process of becoming the state’s first city in 10 years.

Cityhood was set in motion first by a financial feasibility study that indicated there was more than ample money to support a city. It was sealed on March 5 when close to 96 percent of community voters cast ballots in favor of cityhood.

Three of those working to make Mountain House’s transition from community service district to cityhood are former City of Manteca municipal employees.

*Steve Pinkerton is Mountain House’s general manager and a former Manteca city manager.

*Charlie Halford oversees Mountain House’s current contracted police and fire services. He is a retired Manteca police chief and current Manteca City Council member.

*Rex Osborn is overseeing the processes and performance of efforts to make sure documents and such that govern the community service district are changed to meet the requirements of being a general law city in California.

Osborn is a retired Manteca  Police community resource officer. After retiring, he worked in Saudia Arabia for three years advising city management there plus worked as city manager for Plymouth in Amador County for three years.

Osborn spoke Thursday at the Manteca Rotary meeting at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room to share insight on the process involved in becoming a city.

The linchpin to officially start the countdown to become San Joaquin County’s eighth city — and the first to be incorporated since Lathrop gained cityhood status in  1989 — was a state required independent analysis on whether the community had the financial resources to be a standalone city.

Mountain House passed with flying colors thanks to a special tax imposed at the outset by developers working with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

That tax is now roughly 70 cents per improved square foot. It is on top of the property tax.

It varies a little depending on lot size and land use.

As an example, it is $73.53 per 100 square feet of building that are on lots  less than 6,000 square feet and $80.01 per 100 square feet for building on larger lots.

That means a 3,000 square-foot home on a large lot would pay $2,400 a year. Again, that is in addition to property taxes.

With almost exactly a third of Manteca’s residents, Mountain House has more than half of what Manteca does to cover general fund services.

It is because of how heavily property is assessed. That special tax on a 3,400 square foot home on a lot less than 6,000 square that sells for $1 million will generate $2,568 a year in taxes on top of what portion of the $10,000 property tax bill Mountain House receives.

Homes selling in excess of $1 million are a common occurrence in Mountain House.

As of Thursday, there were 22 homes listed for sale in excess of $1 million with the highest being $1,599,00.

Of those, 10 are pending with accepted offers.

“The predominate car in Mountain House is a Telsa,” Osborn said.

The notation was a way to illustrate how cityhood will improve Mountain House’s financial situation.

As a city, Mountain House will receive sales tax from vehicle sales as part of it goes to the jurisdiction where the vehicle is garaged.

At the same time, Mountain House will receive transfer taxes on property as well as other taxes that residents are paying but are not flowing into city coffers.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email